30 Short Films you shouldn’t miss at the 40th Busan International Short Film Festival (Part 1)

We present the first part of our list of short films you shouldn’t miss at the Busan International Short Film Festival which is taking place from April 25 – May 1, 2023 in Busan, Korea.

Against the Tides by Junseo Choi – Korea | 2023 – 15 minutes | World Premiere

Junseo, Yunah, and Junewoo decide to make a travel documentary on bicycling along Korea’s east coast, which is quite typical for young people to do but nevertheless interesting. They begin cycling, unsure of what they can accomplish through their adventure. They become exhausted from pedaling without a goal, but as they confront their own limits and meet new people along the way, they begin to change.​ (BISFF 2023)

Bang by Soyung Choi – Korea | 2022 – 17 minutes | World Premiere

A body is submerged in the sea. The body soon enters an unknown environment and transforms. With minimal motions, a woman in a small transparent box tells a narrative. Her instinctive movements are suppressed by external languages. The sounds and motions toward the woman in the foreground, as well as her motions toward this pressure raise the viewers’ tension. The artist’s performance on the stage ends and disappears, but on the cinematic stage, secondary anxiety arises from a desire to control the entire stage beyond its own motion. (Byunghwa Kang – BISFF 2023)

Big Day by Chung-chieh Chiang – Taiwan | 2022 – 23 minutes | World Premiere

In the afternoon, a middle-aged married couple are taking a walk by the harbor while having a fight. They meet an old acquaintance that they haven’t seen for a long time. Later, they walk past the Mazu temple where he proposed to her, which reminds them of how things used to be.​ (BISFF 2023)

Bird in the Peninsula by Atsushi Wada – France, Japan | 2022 – 16 minutes – International Competition

Children are dancing to the music under the supervision of their teacher. A young lady witnesses the scene and disrupts their rituals.​ (BISFF 2023)

Boarding Institute by Yongjae Park – Korea | 2022 – 30 minutes – Korean Competition

A student at an unauthorized boarding school suddenly collapses. Minyeong, the instructor in charge, is concerned because she suspects her student’s collapse was caused by drugs rather than exhaustion.​ (BISFF 2023)

Cinema Club by Yunji Jeong – Korea | 2022 – 27 minutes – Korean Competition

At some point, I started watching movies alone in my favorite movie theater. For a brief moment, I felt as if I owned the theater, but then I became lonely and left. I want to meet the audience sitting shoulder to shoulder in front of the screen, spending the same time in the same space as me. (BISFF 2023)

Cut and Paste by Hyojun Kim – Korea | 2022 – 27 minutes – Korean Competition

Jungho, who lives with his mother in a cramped one-room apartment, discovers that his mother has created a new credit card without informing him. With no other option, he resolves to take drastic action.​ (BISFF 2023)

Every Floor Looks the Same by Gladys Ng – Singapore | 2022 – 20 minutes | International Premiere – International Competition

A young girl’s feelings of inertia lead her to wander the city in search of a lost bird. Every Floor Looks the Same is an observation of the kaleidoscopic and claustrophobic nature of man-made life in Singapore, seen through the eyes of a languishing Osmanthüs who initially seeks to fill her day with fun, only to grapple with finding her place and reason in this world. ​(BISFF 2023)

Further and Further Away by Polen Ly – Cambodia | 2022 – 24 minutes | Korean Premiere – International Competition

A young indigenous Bunong woman and her older brother spend one last day in their rural village in northeastern Cambodia, before an impending move to the capital city in search of a more prosperous life.​ (BISFF 2023)

Graveyard of Horses by Xiaoxuan Jiang – China | 2022 – 17 minutes | Korean Premiere – International Competition

A frigid winter on the Mongolian steppe, an untimely snowstorm aggravated the lives of a pregnant herder and her 8-year-old daughter: the missing flock of sheep, the unborn child, the absent husband, traces of wolves…. everything led the mother and daughter to places they’ve never been.​ (BISFF 2023)

Jill, Uncredited by Anthony Ing – UK, Canada | 2022 – 19 minutes | Asian Premiere – International Competition

Prolific background actor Jill Goldston takes centre stage in this unique portrait. Constructed entirely from Jill’s performances – captured fleetingly in everything from “Mr. Bean” to The Elephant Man (1980) – the film is a lyrical journey through popular culture, and a haunting study of a life lived out of focus.​ (BISFF 2023)

Lucky Fish by Emily May Jampel – USA | 2022 – 9 minutes | Korean Premiere

A meet-cute between two young women being nagged by their respective families turns into a playful and delicate pas de deux around a fish tank, where they can let their masks off, if for just a few precious moments. Just like them, “parents, am I right?” is that frustrating thought we’ve all had far too often to count – a universal constant if there ever was one! (Sébastien Simon – BISFF 2023)​

Matapang by Léa-Jade Horlier – France | 2022 – 24 minutes | International Premiere – International Competition

Mary Ann, a twelve-year-old child born as a result of sex tourism, survives in the slum of Angeles City, Manila. Determined to make it out, she is ready to do anything to find her father. (BISFF 2023)​

My Unborn Son by Gyöngyi Fazekas – Finland | 2022 – 20 minutes | Asian Premiere – International Competition

Nora is facing the life-altering choice of whether or not to become a mother. In her uncertainty, she has turned to science. What if you could meet your unborn child?​ (BISFF 2023)

Naked Bulb by Zoljargal Purevdash – Mongolia | 2020 – 18 minutes | Korean Premiere

A malfunctioning lightbulb becomes the catalyst of a significant yet quiet crisis for a Mongolian woman raising her daughter on her own while her husband works abroad. This understated and delicate film strikes a subtle balance between the suppression of sexual frustrations, the allure of spur-of-the-moment temptations, and true-to-life circumstances. (Sébastien Simon) – BISFF 2023​

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